Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden said that graphic photos showing injuries apparently sustained by financier Jeffrey Epstein’s neck are more indicative of homicide than suicide, which is his official cause of death.
“I think there’s a lot of information that still hasn’t been revealed yet that is essential in order to arrive at a conclusion, whether this is a suicide or homicide,” Baden, who was hired by Epstein’s brother Mark to investigate the circumstance surrounding his death, told Fox News on Monday. “I think the closing out of the case as a suicide so quickly was premature.”
Two graphic photos show deep marks around Epstein’s neck, and other photos showed what appears to be a makeshift noose fashioned from prison bedsheets. The photos were first published by CBS News.
The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office said Epstein, 66, died in August of a suicide by hanging. Since then, there has been intense speculation about whether he killed himself or whether one of the powerful people that he considered his friends was responsible.
But Baden, who previously worked for the same medical examiner’s office, said the mark on his neck “doesn’t match the ligature that was found at the scene and that the medical examiner copied to show how he was hanged.”
He added that “it was too wide and too smooth. This is a rougher injury.”
“There is no transfer of any blood on that ligature from the neck,” Baden said. “It doesn’t match the ligature mark on the neck. It’s too wide, it’s too smooth, and it doesn’t have any transfer of skin or blood.”
Aside from the photos, Baden said there are more unanswered questions, including how the guards and EMTs reacted to his death.
“I think the important thing is to find out what was seen when the guards first went into the cell. Was he hanging? Was he on the ground? As some people reported when he was found,” Baden said. “EMS is not supposed to remove dead bodies from jails,” Baden added. “They’re supposed to have a whole forensic workup, what kind of forensic evidence is on the clothing, how long the person was dead.”
He continued, “We can tell from the ligature mark that he had been … there was a tight ligature around his neck for many hours, and the front of the neck, before he was found … so he was dead for a long time. But we could be more specific about that if somebody tested out the stiffness of the body, et cetera, at the scene.”
Epstein was jailed at the Manhattan Correctional Center in July after he was arrested on new sex trafficking charges. He was previously convicted in 2008 for procuring a minor girl for prostitution.
Two guards at the jail have been charged in the case for reportedly failing to check on Epstein and falsifying records.